HERE, we look at love and friendship over a hundred years ago as our journey takes us to the village of Salterforth which is situated between Barnoldswick and Earby in what is now Lancashire.

A YOUNG girl kept a Friendship Book, but this has since lost both its covers and several pages of contents. The owner was a young girl described by one admirer as a ‘bonnie lassie’.

She invited her friends and acquaintances to write down in their best handwriting some small pieces of wisdom, some serious and others less so, to help guide her through the ‘noisy confusion of life’ or else urge her too ‘to be cheerful and strive to be happy’.

This was set against the backdrop of a First World War which is hardly mentioned. The book is now far too fragile to be handled. Fortunately, digital photographs have been taken to help preserve this delightful book which is held in the archives of the Barnoldswick History Society.

In 1917 EWT of Kelbrook wrote that ‘friendship was really love without wings’. And as it is close to Valentine’s Day, we have some words about those first enthralling encounters.

Elsie wrote: ‘Some girls love their brothers I so good have grown That I love other girls’ brothers Better than my own.’ And Nellie added: ‘In a parlour there were three A maid, a parlour lamp and he.

Two’s company, there’s no doubt, And so the parlour lamp went out.’ And a matter of weeks before the end of the war, the first flush of romance had well and truly faded.

‘Before I was married, I felt both aggrieved and hurt Because I had no-one to sew a button on my shirt, Now I am married those grievances have gone.

I haven’t a shirt to sew a button on.’ And from Clara ‘I’m not denying that women are foolish.

God Almighty made them so – to match the men.’ and a ‘fellow citizen’ gives some advice for farmers ‘Muck on’t land pays better ne’r in’t sewer.’

And to remind us about the war, there is a gripe from one of our Tommies: ‘God made bees, Bees made honey The East Lancs do the work The R.E.s get the money.’ (The R.E.s were the Royal Engineers and the East Lancs one of the local regiments.)

The poems and messages were intended to cement the bonds of friendship, and should not be scrutinised too closely.

But there was a war on: a terse postcard addressed to Miss Lancaster in Ribblesdale Terrace simply said 'With all kind thoughts from France. E.'

The card had been passed by Field Censor 1140’. Was our man being coy because he knew his card would be censored, or was he simply writing to an acquaintance or relative?

Another intriguing message is an embroidered onto stiffened cloth the size of a postcard. It reads ‘Xmas 1918 – Greetings from Salonika’.

It shows the British union flag and a simplified American stars and stripes. There are small photographs of a man in uniform, a woman and a young child. The First World War had been over for six weeks or so: the Salonika campaign itself had finished three months before Christmas with the surrender of the opposing Bulgarians. There is no supporting documentation, so the whole thing remains a mystery.

The most recent meeting of Barnoldswick History Society was well attended. The speaker gave a short overview of the society’s archive including such gems as Edith Nutter’s Ladies’ and Children’s Outfitters in Rainhall Road and one of many fine photographs taken in the town in 1948.

The main event was however the slide and audio presentation about Gisburn Road Infants School which featured in these pages before Christmas.

A separate display presented various documents and photographs of the school. Two striking images were taken during the First World War.

They both show Skipton Road with the school in the background. In the first one a banner has been hung across the street: ‘We Shall Win: If We Faint Not’. A few people had already gathered to get a good view, and then there was a second photograph of the big parade, led by the drummers from the local scouts, with other children marching behind and a mass of people stretching as far as the eye could see.

The strange thing is that the houses are almost brand new. A date stone on the large house on the left reads ‘1913’.

Today those same houses are over a hundred years old, but then everything was gleaming, brand new, and everyone should have been optimistic, if it had not been for the war.

Thanks to Barnoldswick History Society for their help in the preparation of this article.